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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Two I’s and Euromaidan

A Recollection of Solomia: unknown Solomia Krushelnytska shown by actors of the Zankovetska Theater
4 December, 2013 - 18:12
LIUBOV BOROVSKA AND OLEKSANDRA BONKOVSKA PLAYED THE PARTS OF KRUSHELNYTSKA’S TWO I’S, WOMAN AND ACTRESS (SCENE FROM THE ZANKOVETSKA THEATER’S SHOW A RECOLLECTION OF SOLOMIA) / Photo by Taras VALKO

As part of the Mlyn Festival’s program Ukrainian capital saw its first forum of Lviv theaters. The Zankovetska Theater’s company presented an original version of great opera singer Solomia Krushelnytska’s life story on the Young Theater’s chamber stage on December 2. Prominent Ukrainian director Alla Babenko staged their show A Recollection of Solomia, based on a play by contemporary Lviv author Roman Horak. Most viewers knew nothing prior to going to the theater about the story narrated by the two I’s, Woman and Actress, played by Liubov Borovska and Oleksandra Bonkovska.

Recordings of the singer’s arias and quotations from her memories frame the show, with black-and-white dresses of the actresses serving to make visible the contrasts of her life, blessed with fame and success, but also cursed with impossible love. The action takes place against a background of theater posters, for the stage was the singer’s fate. However, she was not only a great actress, but also a beautiful woman who dreamed of having a family and children... Who was Krushelnytska’s love? Why has this page of her biography remained mostly unknown? Who was that Yosyp who brought great suffering to the singer? Did the art really need sacrifices Krushelnytska brought on its altar?

They ought to meet in their childhood already, as they grew up in neighboring villages in Ternopil region, and their fathers were priests. They had another chance to meet in Lviv in 1898 then, but the fate had it otherwise... It was Trieste where Solomia and Yosyp met for the first time. Every following year on November 12, the singer received expensive gifts, but when she married Italian Cesare Riccioni, Yosyp stopped writing to her, and her letters to him were returned undelivered... It was news to many viewers that philanthropist Yosyp Bilynsky who served as the personal pharmacist to the king of Egypt provided funds to build gymnasiums, dormitories, and reading rooms in Ukraine as well as helped Borys Hrinchenko, Lesia Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, and Vasyl Stefanyk... He loved Krushelnytska throughout his life, but never married...

Actresses Borovska and Bonkovska managed to show the singer as she was. Their character seems to be confessing to herself, and, remembering the past, looks for a moment when she made a mistake and lost the chance to be a happy woman...

The performance was held during Euromaidan, so Krushelnytska’s contemporary Yevhen Chykalenko’s invectives at Ukrainian intellectuals, traitors, denationalized people and those who love Ukraine with all their heart but rarely to a depth of their pockets sounded highly relevant, as if written now, in the days of decision for our country...

By Tetiana POLISHCHUK, The Day
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